Death in Cambridge

Death in Cambridge. It doesn't sound as glamorous as Death in Venice, but we have arty buildings and the punting. Most of all, we have a fantastic base of people enthusiastic about sharing art, information, ideas and conversation about dying and death which may well just have an impact on the way we choose to live our lives. This sprang out of a surprisingly fun meeting at Death Cafe in Cambridge last year. It was the first time I experienced a gathering of people determined to break out of the taboo of death. We spoke, laughed (often very dark humour) and challenged ourselves to accept that we are mortal. We will all experience bereavement, and die ourselves, and we damned well better get u

Don't lose your head. Or your teeth.

This week I have mostly been thinking about decapitations. It started as a casual conversation with someone who will remain anonymous but who can confirm that she knows the person who knows the whereabouts of Oliver Cromwell's head. For those of you who don't know, having rested peacefully in Westminster Abbey, he was dug up and posthumously executed after the restoration of the English Monarchy. The corpse was exhumed and then hanged, and later his head was placed on a spike at Westminster Hall in a traditional show of the fate of traitors. From there it passed through the hands of private collectors and museum owners and eventually making its way into sympathetic hands, who gave it a decen

Make no bones about it

Today I saw a lovely, informative image from the Biologist's Apprentice on Facebook. Which made me realise that I would not normally have covered the amazing cephalopods, as I don't believe I have ever seen a display of their skeletons in a museum. (In fact, the image I have shown is, in reality, a picture of parrot food.) Okay, so really not much going on in the bony world for invertebrates. But cephalopods are brilliant! They rightly deserve some good fan sites, such as this upworthy list, and these true facts about the octopus. Yes, with no skeleton they can squeeze through ridiculously small holes. And they do seem to enjoy sneaking out of aquarium displays to have a wander about, eat th